So, you’ve arrived in the adventure capital of the world with only 14 days to get yourself up to Auckland in the North Island. Arriving in Queenstown with only 1 day to explore can be quite daunting as there’s so much to do whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or you’re looking for a relaxing first day but fear not – we have pulled together our top three things to do for adventure and relaxation (we know, you can thank us when you drop the car off!) Anyway, enough of this – let’s GO!
- Route map with key locations
- Recommended vehicle for this trip
- Trip itinerary
- Queenstown and around
- Queenstown to Wanaka
- Wanaka to Christchurch
- Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
- Hanmer Springs
- Hanmer Springs to Nelson
- Nelson to Picton
- Wellington to Lake Taupo
- Lake Taupo to Rotorua
- Rotorua to Coromandel Peninsula
- Around the Coromandel
- Coromandel Peninsula to Auckland
Book a vehicle for this trip
1Queenstown and around
Although this is a two week adventure, we’ve got a lot of road to cover between here and Auckland so sadly we can only give you a day and a night in Queenstown but fear not, we’ve pulled together a list of our favourite things to do when we’re in this neck of the woods to help you plan your day!
Adrenaline fuelled adventure
For those who have headed to Queenstown for adrenaline fuelled adventure, these are our highlights of things to do in a day:
1) AJ Hackett Nevis Bungy – Australasia’s highest bungy at 134m, this is not for the feint hearted – 8.5 seconds of freefall will have you screaming like a lunatic!
2) Skipper Canyon Jet – reaching speeds of up to 85mph this ride up the tight Shotover Canyon is sure to get your pulse racing. The 360 degree spins will get you closer to the wall than you feel comfortable with! Skippers Canyon Jet is also a GO Play partner. Bonus!
3) Coronet Peak ski resort (in season) – fantastic resort for pros and beginners alike, Coronet Peak is a GO Rentals favourite in the winter where lots of fun can be had on and off the slopes
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Something a bit more…relaxing
We know that jumping off mountains and flipping jet boats is not everyone’s cup of tea but there’s more to Queenstown than adrenaline fuelled adventure. Here are our top three things for the more laid back traveller:
1) Ben Lommond – a 4 hour walk giving you some awesome views of Queenstown, the lake and surrounding mountains
2) Skyline gondola – take the gondola up Bob’s Peak and enjoy some award winning cuisine and some amazing views. If you want to get down a bit quicker, the luge is a lot of fun!
3) Arrowtown (22.1km – 22mins) – head out in your new GO Rentals hire car and check out this small town which was at the heart of the NZ gold rush. There are lots of nice shops, bars and places to eat as well as relaxing walks.
At the end of a busy day, Queenstown is a great place to unwind with a huge range of bars to suit everyone. Depending on the time of year, you’ll either be welcomed in to a roaring fire or sit out enjoying the sun setting over Lake Wakatipu.
Check out our guide to Around Queenstown for plenty of ideas whether you’re an adventure junkie in search of bungy, rafting or maybe a trip up the gondola; there’s plenty to do for everyone.
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2Queenstown to Wanaka (68.6km – 1 hour 12 mins)
A short drive awaits your second day of this South Island adventure and although Wanaka offers
many of the same adrenaline fuelled adventures as Queenstown, from snowboarding to mountain
biking, it’s also the perfect place to relax and chill out by the side of the lake.
Rob Roy Glacier
If you do fancy a stretch of the legs however, there are over 750km of walking tracks in and around
Wanaka whether you want a short stroll or a full day hike. About an hour’s drive from Wanaka is Rob
Roy Glacier, an ideal entry point to the Mt Aspiring National Park. From the Raspberry Creek car
park, you will find a stunning walk up the valley brings you outstanding views of Rob Roy Glacier. It’s
about a 4 hour round trip so this one is not for the feint hearted.
A trip to Wanaka is just not the same without a trip to Puzzling World and it’s a definite favourite of
the GO Rentals team. With 1.5km of passages in the ‘Great Maze’, it’s a great place to get lost for a
few hours and act like a big kid as you race your mates to the four corners and back to the middle.
It’s also really funny when someone gets themselves lost! Throw in a few weird and wonderful
illusions like water running uphill (what’s that all about?!) and this makes for the perfect start to any
Beer fans take note! For something a bit different, why not have a drive out to the Wanaka
Beerworks where you can sample the local beers and ales as well as taking a tour and finding out
about the history of beer making (it’s actually harder than you think!). Make sure you take home a
sample selection to keep you going throughout the rest of your trip.
This small classic movie theatre located in Wanaka is a real find. With comfy old sofas and 3 seats in an old Morris Minor this is a truly quirky place to spend a few hours unwinding. There is a cafe and bar serving delicious meals before, during or after the movie, homemade ice cream and some worldfamous hot cookies baked fresh for every intermission. Expect a warm and friendly welcome from the staff to boot.
Mercure Oakridge Resort
After another full on day, it’s great to relax and unwind and there’s no better place than the Grand
Mercure Oakridge resort where you can make the most of the heated outdoor rock pools and spa
complex. We’ve heard this sort of thing goes down really well with the ladies so why not treat the
special one in your life to a day pass (you can always take the beer tour!) or even better, splash out
and stay the night. Win win.
Speight’s Ale House
A perfect place to grab a bite to eat is at the Wanaka Speight’s Ale House. A traditional Kiwi
experience awaits along with the full range of Speight’s ales. Highly recommended come the fish and
chips served in a traditional paper bag washed down with a pint of Speight’s Summit Lager –
delicious! You wanted the full on Kiwi experience – it doesn’t get much more Kiwi than that.
3Wanaka to Christchurch (427km – 5 hours 51 mins)
Heading out of Wanaka you will first head east before taking SH8 up towards Lake Tekapo. This is a
day to really give your new GO Rentals car a run on the winding roads of Canterbury to your final
destination of Christchurch and by the end of the day you will have no doubt come up with a name
for your faithful beast.
Mt John Observatory/Lake Tekapo (200km – 2 hours 40 mins from Wanaka)
Stargazers all over the world know Mt John and Lake Tekapo, in the Aoraki/Mount Cook Mackenzie region, as one of the absolute best places to look at the stars (and even catch a glimpse of the Southern Lights – Aurora Australis).
Lake Tekapo is also famous for its unique turquoise colour, as well as its beautiful starry nights – if you can park here for the night, you will not regret it. Mt John, just above the Tekapo township, is considered one of the most accessible observatories in the world, home to 6 telescopes, including New Zealand’s biggest telescope, which can observe 50 million stars each clear night (yes, you read that right).
Akaroa (280km – 4 hours 10mins from Lake Tekapo)
Located 75km south of Christchurch and known by locals as the ‘Riviera of Canterbury’, Akaroa is a great stop off as you head north towards Christchurch. This village is located on Banks Peninsula within a harbour of the same name and is considered “the most French town” in New Zealand, as it was the only French settlement in the country. Spend some time exploring the small town and then head to the harbour for the best fish and chips meal of your life (at least that’s Akaroa’s claim so you be the judge and let us know. Depending on your plans further up the coast, Black Cat Cruise offer the chance to swim with the very rare Hector dolphins which are only found in these waters and with a GO Play discount of 10%, you’d be a fool not to!
The final leg of the journey today will take you 81.3kms to Christchurch via Lyttelton.
On the approach to Christchurch, a stop off a Lyttelton is well worth the detour and it’s a great place to grab some dinner if you’re arriving late in the evening. Hit by the earthquakes, Lyttelton has now rebuilt and is a thriving village with lots of bars and cafes – there’s a great road over to Lyttelton which offers you some fantastic views looking down to the city and the harbour as well as down to the Southern Alps – a great way to end this leg of your road trip.
4Christchurch to Hanmer Springs (134 km – 1 hour 55 mins)
Day 4 of your road trip brings you to the largest city on the South Island – the Garden City. Spend the morning and early afternoon exploring this beautiful city – some of the GO Rentals team highlights are below.
The garden city
Christchurch was named as number 2 on the New York Times top 52 places to visit in 2014 and there are plenty of reasons for that. Following the earthquakes of 2010-11 the city has now emerged as a vibrant city with plenty to see and do. Known as the Garden City, Christchurch has an abundance of parks and gardens including the gorgeous botanical gardens. Add in to this mix the tranquil Avon River and you can see why people rave so much about the city.
Eat | Drink | Shop
Christchurch is a vibrant place for eating and drinking whether you are looking for 5 star opulence or a backstreet café. Re:START is an outdoor retail space opened in late 2011 made from shipping containers. Scattered with a mix of premium brands and home grown products, Re:START is a quirky experience which tells of the cities resilience and ability to come back following the destruction of the earthquakes. Located within Re:START you’ll also find Quake City, a multi-media attraction which tells the story of the earthquakes that hit Christchurch and the Canterbury region.
Check out the several Gap Filler projects that volunteers have created to temporarily “activate” sites
left empty by the earthquakes – you’ll be able to see some unique and really creative work that is proof of Christchurch’s charm and resilience.
Leave yourself enough time for the next leg of your journey – a 134km journey to Hanmer Springs which should take you a couple of hours. It will be well worth it when you get there we promise!
After a busy few days driving up from Queenstown, a day in Hanmer is just what the doctor ordered. Surrounded by the beautiful Southern Alps with crisp alpine air, relax and unwind in the award winning thermal pools or simply enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Hanmer Village and its surrounding areas.
Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
The thermal pools and spa complex in Hanmer has been soothing peoples’ aches and pains away for the best part of 125 years and all those who have been before you can’t be wrong! Relax in one of 15 open air pools or try out one of the 3 aquatherapy pools. Families and children are catered for too since a recent redevelopment has added three waterslides and a lazy river to keep even the liveliest of kids entertained.
Wai Ariki Farm Park
If getting crinkly is not your thing, there are plenty of other attractions in Hanmer and one of the best is the Wai Ariki Farm Park. Offering a hands-on experience, Wai Ariki is home to some weird and wonderful animals which are sure to keep kids and adults amused for the morning. The Tibetan Yak are a particular favourite!
We know how important shopping is to some of our GO Rentals friends and Hanmer is definitely up your street. With a fantastic range of boutique outlets including the quirky ‘Up the Garden Path’ and ‘Wink’, we’re sure you’ll find the retail therapy as relaxing as a trip to the thermal pools.
Monteith’s Brewery Bar
If you’ve not managed to sample the delights of one of New Zealand’s favourite beers, fear not! Although it may not offer the full brewery tour experience, The Monteith’s brew pub in Hanmer is certainly a great place to go and try your favourite Monteith’s ale and relax and unwind. Situated right in the heart of the town, there is a great vibe to match the great beer so whatever you have been up to during the day, this is a great place to end your night. Our top tip is the Monteith’s Southern Pale Ale. When in Rome as they say!
6Hanmer Springs to Nelson (300km – 4 hours 6 mins)
After a day spent relaxing in Hanmer, you will be ready to hit the road again and after a day off yesterday, your GO Rentals car will be raring to GO!
Swim with the dolphins (130 km – 2 hours 6 mins from Hanmer Springs)
Heading out of Hanmer Springs, take the road north heading towards Blenheim. A great stop off on the way is Kaikoura which is a whale watchers delight. Not only that, this is a great opportunity for you to take a dip and swim with the dolphins at the right time of the year – this must be on a few wish lists so let’s get it ticked off!
GO Play partner Encounter Kaikoura offers a brilliant opportunity to get in the water in the south Pacific and swim with these amazing animals with tours operating three times a day.
It’s not just dolphins that pass through the waters around Kaikoura though and if you time things right, there is also the chance to see various species of whale as well as seals and birds.
Use your GO Play card here
Cellar View Café and Restaurant
Kaikoura is one of New Zealand’s best locations for seeing marine life including whales and dolphins. It is also the home to the Cellar View Cafe and Restaurant. This place serves up some pretty amazing dishes matched only by the stunning views out to the pacific. It’s easy to let an afternoon drift by, enjoying the delicious food and admiring the endless view. Nice.
Wine tasting and much more (129km – 1 hour 47mins)
Marlborough is a world famous wine region and it would be rude not to sample some of the local delights on your way through (hopefully it may be a more sociable time of the day!). There are plenty of wineries who will gladly take you through their wide range of vinos from a fruity pinot noir to the flagship wine of the region, Sauvignon Blanc.
There are some famous vineyards down here like Cloudy Bay but we recommend sampling some of the more boutique wineries – a great way to get around is on a bike although be careful if you have a few vinos on the way as you may get a bit wobbly! Wine tour by bike offer bike hire or guided tours which helps as they will transport you back
If wine is not your thing, there are also lots of microbreweries in the region so this is the perfect place to stock up for the road trip ahead.
Marlborough Sounds and the Queen Charlotte Track (28.1km – 25 mins from
For those adventurous souls out there who love nothing more than strapping on a pair of hiking boots and heading off into the unknown, the Queen Charlotte Track offers you the perfect opportunity to explore rural New Zealand. Dominated by a bush-clad shoreline, the track takes you on an amazing journey through the Marlborough Sounds and the 70kms of track will energise even the most active.
For those of a less active disposition, the Sounds are famous for the greenshell mussels which are found in abundance so why not treat yourself to a fantastic late lunch or early dinner. Photo From here, the final leg of the day will take you the 134kms to Nelson which should take you just short of 2 hours.
7Nelson to Picton (134km – 1 hour 52mins)
Waking up in Nelson a busy day awaits you with plenty to see and do. We can’t recommend highly enough spending a day in the Abel Tasman National Park – one of NZ’s true gems and there are lots of things to do in the park including walking and kayaking. Here are just a few of the things to do in the region before you head off to catch your ferry.
The Wainui Falls are located inside the Abel Tasman National Park and are 20 metre waterfalls, a welcome reward at the end of an easy bush walk. The hike takes about one hour (return).
The Boulder Bank
The Boulder Bank is another spectacular example of the South Island’s natural wonders. The 13km long bank is one of the very few of its type in the world so you are in the presence of something very unique. It has been formed from large granodiorite boulders that have been moved by wind, water and tide to form the spectacular line in front of you.
The lighthouse was made in Bath (England) and shipped in parts to New Zealand, then assembled in 1861.
You can access the bank by turning off SH6 and driving along Boulder Bank Drive, 7km north of Nelson.
The Snout Track
As your time in the South Island draws to an end and you head to Picton to catch the ferry, there is one last chance to pull on the hiking boots and have a true Kiwi experience by venturing into the great outdoors with a 3.5 hour return hike to awesome views of Queen Charlotte Sound – a great way to end your South Island adventure. From the Snout Track car park, walk along the gravel road to reach the track, then follow the signs to the Snout Head.
From the Snout Track, it’s a short hop to the ferry terminal to catch the Interislander ferry across to
It might be small but New Zealand’s cool capital is jam-packed with things to do and places to see.
Park your car and head for a walk around the waterfront where you’ll find the fascinating Museum of Wellington City and Sea in the old Harbour Board Bond Store, complete with its opulent 1920s board room and a complete teak cabin from an 1879 steamship. It’s not far from New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa – a futuristic multi-storeyed complex that forms one of the largest new museums in the world, with numerous interactive displays.
For the best panoramic views of the city and Port Nicholson all the way across to the Hutt Valley, head up to the lookout on Mt Victoria. The historic cannon on the summit was installed in 1877 and was fired each day as a time signal for many years. If you look down below, in the suburbs, you will spot the New Zealand Cricket Museum, located in the Old Grandstand at the Basin Reserve, not far from the Colonial Cottage Museum on the site of one of the original 1840 New Zealand Company Town acres.
Grab a coffee (Wellington claims to have the best coffee in New Zealand) and visit the cool one-of-akind stores along Manners Mall and Cuba Street. When you’re on that street, notice the cool Bucket Fountain that doesn’t actually work the way it’s supposed to (take a close look at it and you’ll see the water doesn’t actually obey the easy bucket system and sometimes misses the buckets altogether).
Treaty of Waitangi
A visit to Archives New Zealand on 10 Mulgrave Street allows you to see the Treaty of Waitangi (the document that is considered the foundation of the country). You can also take a tour of the Beehive, the country’s parliament, if you’re feeling politically-inclined before taking a stroll along the waterfront, decorated with interesting sculptures and populated by numerous bars (including some decent craft beer spots).
If you have some free time, we suggest a visit to the Weta Workshop, nestled away in the Miramar suburb. Weta is known worldwide for its weird and wonderful creations for film, including creatures, makeup and digital special effects for movies such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar and The Chronicles of Narnia among others. You can take the 45-minute guided tour through the workshop, which provides unique behind-the scenes glimpses into the work of this award-winning company.
An interesting activity if you have a got a half hour to spare is a little sadistic but we do love to see it. Head over to the airport in Wellington (we suggest you park Wexford Road, on the northeastern side of the airport) and on a typical windy Wellington day, you’ll have the chance to see what you escaped from by choosing to drive from Queenstown to Auckland rather than catching flights. Planes taking off and landing in Wellington often sway a little more than they should – a little scary for passengers on the plane, a bit of fun for you safely watching from the comfort of your rental car on rock solid ground.
There is literally heaps to do in this awesome city and if you’re looking for more inspiration, make sure you check out of Wellington guide for more ideas.
9Wellington to Lake Taupo (370km – 5 hours 5 mins)
Stonehenge Aotearoa (84.2km – 1 hour 14 mins from Wellington)
Heading north out of Wellington, we are going to take a slightly longer route towards Palmerston North, with a pit stop in Carterton.
Take Park Road out of Carterton and follow the signs to Stonehenge Aotearoa to see a full scale model of Stonehenge located on the hills of the Wairarapa, pretty much as far from actual Stonehenge as anything can be. You’ll be able to learn a bit about astronomy, both ancient and modern methods, and find out more about Maori astrology too.
Whanganui (193km – 2 hours 41 mins)
From Carterton, we have just short of 3 hours to drive before we hit our next destination, Whanganui.
There is plenty to see in Whanganui so you’ll have to be a bit selective. We suggest a look at the Cooks Gardens, on St Hill Street, right in the centre of town. These are famous because they were the location where Peter Snell ran the famous sub-four minute mile in January 1962 (that’s crazy fast). If you’re feeling particularly fit, you can try attempting your fastest mile time here too, right where Snell did it in front of 13,000 people.
Afterwards, take some time to wander around the Whanganui Regional Museum, on Watt Street, which displays the impressive work of Gottfried Lindauer, one of the most famous colonial artists in the country. The museum also includes one of the most important collections of Moa bones, including some complete skeletons of the extinct giant bird.
Hop back in your GO Rentals car for the last trip of the day up to Taupo which should take you around 3.5 hours.
10Lake Taupo to Rotorua (81.3km – 1 hour 8 mins)
Having arrived pretty late in Taupo the previous day, a new dawn awaits with plenty of options in this town situated on the shore of New Zealand’s largest lake.
Make sure you stop at the Huka Falls, a set of incredibly impressive waterfalls along the Waikato River, with about 220,000 litres of water flowing per second (that’s a lot of water). You can also get involved in some thrills and spills (hopefully not too many!) on the Huka Falls Jet, a GO Play partner giving you a 10% discount – hold on tight! Next, stop at the Huka Prawn Park (Karetoto Rd) for a visit (you’ll need a couple of hours if you want to take the tour) and some seafood deliciousness.
Lake Taupo itself is pretty impressive and not far from the township, along the Desert Road, you’ll get to see Mount Ruapehu (Mount Doom for you Lord of the Rings fans) and its neighbouring (and equally impressive) volcanoes.
The Desert Road itself is worth the drive as the scenery is not something you’ll find anywhere else (alpine deserts such as this one are a rare sight anywhere else in the world) so take your time to soak in the views.
Although this is a guide to off the beaten track activities, it wouldn’t be right for us not to mention the amazing sky diving over Lake Taupo. As you will be aware, New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world and sky diving opportunities are abundant all over the country but Lake Taupo is a GO Rentals favourite and luckily for you, Taupo Tandem Skydiving is a GO Play partner giving you a 5% discount. The views as you hurtle out of the plane towards the lake are spectacular and if you can, we recommend you get the photo pack – it’s well worth the extra dollars to remember this day.
Use your GO Play card here
For you budding Tigers out there, Lake Taupo throws up a challenge – can you land your ball on a green floating in the middle of the lake? If the answer is yes, and more importantly, if you can get a hole in one, your trip to Lake Taupo just got a whole bunch better as there are some big prizes up for grabs. Even if you don’t play golf, it’s pretty satisfying just whacking balls into the lake!
Once you drag yourself away from Taupo and head towards Rotorua, it may be time to take a step back and relax a little. We suggest you take a couple hours to visit the Polynesian Spa in Rotorua, voted one of the best spas in the world. Choose from a range of hot pools or book a massage and enjoy a couple of hours of what holidays really are about – doing absolutely nothing.
11Rotorua to Coromandel Peninsula (208km – 2 hours 57 mins)
Chainsaw Collection at the New Zealand Timber Museum (54.2km – 47 mins from
Not exactly the most obvious choice for a recommended touristic attraction but we’re talking about unique and quaint experiences that you’ll only get in New Zealand, right? So here’s one: a chainsaw collection at a Timber Museum in the small town of Putaruru, about an hour south of Hamilton. You don’t find that in many other places.
Before you head out of Putaruru, stop for a visit to the international acclaimed Blue Spring with crystal clear blue waters. Pack a picnic and head along the Te Waihou Walkway to reach the spring. The walk takes about 1.5 hours each way and passes through rolling farmland, New Zealand native bush and even some waterfalls.
Mandatory waterfall photo taken, it’s time to keep heading south. Our next stop is Matamata.
Matamata (29.8km – 28 mins from Putaruru)
If you’re a Lord of the Rings fan, this is the place for you. If you’re not a Lord of the Rings fan (we don’t judge), you’ll still enjoy the stop in Matamata.
The town includes the set of Hobbiton from Peter Jackson’s movies and a guided tour of the movie set (starting from the Information Centre right on the main street) is a must-do for any visitor. You’ll be able to visit 44 unique hobbit holes (just like in the movies), including Bag End (Bilbo Baggins’ house), as you make your way through the Shire, passing iconic locations such as the Green Dragon Pub, the double arched bridge and the Party Tree.
After that, it’s time to continue north. Our next stop: Paeroa.
Giant L&P Bottle
Paeroa will be your next stop after the walk. There isn’t much to this small town but it is known for being the birthplace of L&P, the iconic kiwi drink that is “world famous in New Zealand”. This soft drink was originally produced using lemon and mineral water from Paeroa (hence L&P). The giant L&P bottle landmark is a mandatory photo stop for any self-respected tourist so make sure you strike a pose in front of it too.
Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway (7.7km – 7 mins from Paeroa)
Dust off the hiking boots, we’re going for a little walk. Well, sort of little – 7 kilometres. The Karangahake Gorge Walkway features the remains of a historical railway nestled in a natural gorge setting. The walk will take you through relics of back in the day when the area was a big gold mining region. It follows the railway line through the gorge and alongside the Ohinemuri River, through the Victoria Battery Complex and ending in the Waikino Station (which includes a cafe for a much deserved post-walk beverage).
To get to the start of the walkway, park your rental car at the Karangahake Domain Car Park on SH2 between Paeroa and Waihi, get your hiking boots on and off you go!
Waihi (13.2km – 12 mins from Karangahake)
As you head towards the peninsula, make sure you stop by the impressive Martha’s Mine in Waihi. You can take a goldmine tour and find out more about this important part of New Zealand history. Take some time to learn a bit more about the gold mining history, as there won’t be many other opportunities to do so during the trip.
Use your GO Play card here
From here you head to your final destination – we recommend a stopover in Whitianga which is just short of 2 hours from Waihi.
12Around the Coromandel
There is lots to do on the Coromandel and depending on where you decide to stay (we recommend Whitianga or Hahei) there are a variety of activities to choose from.
Deep sea fishing
The Coromandel is one of the best place in the North Island to head out deep sea fishing with a number of charter companies running trips daily throughout the summer months. Head out on to the water and catch yourself some dinner – red snapper are often in abundance and if you’re lucky you may snag yourself a king fish or even a marlin! It’s a really relaxing way to spend a day out on the water and better still, if you bring home a catch, the local fish and chip shops will batter it for you for about 50 cents! Winner.
New Chums beach is something truly special. This little hidden gem is considered by many one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s small and it requires a short hike to get to but what you will find is an example of the really pristine and unspoiled natural wonders of New Zealand.
The beach that not even many Kiwis know about is located in Wainuiototo Bay, approximately 15 kilometres northeast of Coromandel Township. Take the roughly 30-minute walk following the shoreline and you will find the golden sand beach, lined up by pohutukawa trees. You’ll understand why it stays in the memory of everyone who visits.
One of the more famous and most visited beaches in these parts is at Cathedral Cove. GO Play
partner Cathedral Cove Kayak Tours will give you a 10% discount on a guided tour out to visit the sea
caves and check out the towering cliffs of the Te-Whanganui-A-Hei Marine Reserve.
13Coromandel Peninsula to Auckland (169km – 2 hours 30
Take the time to enjoy your morning on the Coromandel Peninsula before you head off to New Zealand’s biggest city. Make the most of the peace and quiet and the tranquil walks as things are going to get busy when you arrive in Auckland.
Pokeno Ice Cream
We know you’ll be excited and itching to get to Auckland for some retail therapy and top notch food, however half an hour out of Auckland is a must for all travellers heading north – it’s an ice cream pit stop. The Pokeno store is renowned for the biggest ice creams in the country. Pokeno Takeaways, on Great South Road, will sell you a 15-scoop ice cream (yes, you read that right). Treat yourself.
You could spend 14 days in and around Auckland alone there is some much to do but with only 14 days to spare, 1 day in NZ’s largest city, home to 1.3 million people and known as the City of Sails is all we can afford. After a nice stroll in downtown Auckland, checking out the Viaduct area and maybe grabbing a bite to eat it’s time for one last drive out in your hire car. A perfect place to end this adventure is to head out west through the suburbs and out to the Waitakere Ranges. With heaps of tracks through the lush forest, there is plenty to keep you busy here. If walking’s not your thing, keep driving through the forest and end up at one of the superb west coast beaches like Piha or Muriwai. The surf’s good out there and the black volcanic sand makes for an interesting day at the
If you’re looking for something a bit closer to home but still fancy a drive out, head on out to Devonport or even up to one of the North Shore’s laid back locations like Browns Bay where you can grab a coffee and watch the world go by.